• David Redding

CHAPTER SEVENTEEN: Subjectivity



One of the first things a law school student learns is the difference between the objective and subjective standards under the law.


The objective standard measures a person’s conduct from the standpoint of a hypothetical Reasonable Man who is subject to Societal Traditions that stand apart from anything specific to him. Under the objective standard, what a person knows or feels—or how he has lived—is irrelevant to whether he has acted morally or lawfully. What matters is not what he should have done under his unique circumstances, but what the Reasonable Man would have done under similar circumstances.


The subjective standard is the opposite. It does consider the life, experiences, and feelings of the individual in determining whether his actions were reasonable. It arises from Subjectivity, which is governance by transitory personal feelings and emotions. Subjectivity is the province of the Liveral who elevates individual lived experience over Societal Tradition.


Generally, in both criminal and civil law, it is the objective standard that is applicable because it alone ensures that the the law is applied equally to everyone who comes before it regardless of their individual characteristics. It is the mark of a mature society that it be able to both articulate objective standards that are premised upon Societal Traditions and apply them consistently to all men, regardless of who they are.


For the Liberal, the objective standard of reasonableness is a Governing Principle that is directly traceable to the radical notion that all men are created equal. That notion was unique to America when it was promulgated by the founders in 1776, and it remains rare today in a world governed by factionalism and Subjectivity. It is the objective standard that forms a primary bulwark against Statist tyranny because it does not allow for the division of the citizenry into victim and oppressor classes, absent which there is no fodder upon which envy can feed—for it is envy upon which the Statist relies to fuel his quest for power.


In contrast, the Reasonable Man is the enemy of the Statist because he is the product of Societal Traditions of conduct that are beyond his power to Control. Unmalleable as he is, the Reasonable Man is the antithesis of the “new man” who has ever been foretold to rise ascendant from the utopian dreamscape promised by Statists since Caesar crossed the Rubicon. It is for this reason that Statist regimes have always commenced with the overturning of existing governing structures and the discarding of all of the Societal Traditions associated with them. To build his Should Be of the future, the Statist must first lay waste to the Is of the past.


Thus, it was not enough for Hitler and Lenin to merely seize control of the governing apparatuses of their respective nations. They also had to subvert everything upon which they were based by destroying the Societal Traditions to which their people naturally adhered. Only then, could they exert full Control.


The dilemma for the Statist in this endeavor is that while Subjectivity may provide the necessary fuel for a Statist revolution, it can never be the foundation of a stable governing structure. Once in power, Statists must provide the same things people have always demanded from their governments: a stable economy and protection from lawlessness.


And this is where Statist regimes have always foundered. Premised upon Control as they are, they destroy the ability of their citizenry to Adapt to Chaos. Instead of encouraging each man to exercise his own Dominion, protecting the right of every man to pursue Happiness as he sees fit, and fortifying the Societal Traditions that that bind us all together as one people regardless of our superficial characteristics, the Statist seeks to weaken and divide its citizenry so that it will be easier to Control. And a weakened and divided citizenry is incapable of participating in a stable economy or protecting itself from the brigandry that naturally results when men become untethered from Societal Traditions.


Eventually, the citizens of a Statist regime become weary of their unceasing poverty and perpetual exposure to crime. They begin to notice that the utopia they were promised by the Statists in exchange for their liberty has not materialized and become suspicious that it ever will be. Faced with growing unrest, every Statist regime will always do two things. First, it will ratchet up its internal security apparatus to quell “counter-revolutionary agitation”. And second, it will export tyranny through empirical conquest—either militarily or economically—to any nation where liberty continues to flourish.


Whether it be Caesar, Napoleon, Lenin, Hitler, Mao or Castro, there is no exception to this pattern. It has never been enough for a tyrant to imprison his own people. His mania for Control will always lead him outside the borders of his own police state where he will often succeed—until he reaches a place where there are enough Liberals who are sufficiently steeped in Societal Traditions to stop him.


In today’s world, that is the land of the free and the home of the brave. If Subjectivity were ever to prevail here, the light of liberty would grow dark for the world.

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